Shop More Local is a not-for-profit initiative with an initial mission to support local businesses as they recovered from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. In the past year, it has grown into much more than a recovery effort and has evolved into a movement that's changing the way people shop and strengthening the community.
One goal of Shop More Local is to educate the consumer how a small shift in spending can have a huge impact on our community. For example, if all 65,054 households in Beaufort County shifted spending $20 per week at national chain stores to local independently-owned businesses, the community impact would be $67 million per year.
To help achieve this goal and lead the mission of Shop More Local, Meredith DiMuzio has been hired as executive director. Meredith is a native of New Jersey and became a “local” of the Lowcounty 13 years ago. She loves the place she now calls home and is passionate about the community. To get to know Meredith, we've asked her a few questions about shopping local and why it's important for her family as well as the community.
Q: Where do you see Lowcountry's business climate going?
A: With the help of Shop More Local we will create a thriving place in the community for small local businesses and professionals. Reminding consumers of the importance of supporting these local businesses will not only help the small business but the community as well. Shop More Local is working on being able to provide these local businesses with everything the big box and chain stores have on a local level. Buying local is a ‘win-win’ for the owner and for the growing community.
Q: Why are local businesses important to the Lowcounty?
A: Entrepreneurs sustain America’s economic transformation and success. Our local businesses help create a stronger community by connecting people, becoming instrumental in local causes, hiring local residents for most (if not all) of their positions, and relying on other local sources and services. Locally owned businesses often source local products, such as farm produce, local art, handmade items and local services such as legal, accounting, and advertising. It’s simple: buying local keeps your money local and our community growing.
Q: How does your family remember to shop more local?
A: We make a conscious effort to make it to one of the many farmers markets in the community each week. These markets are fun places to see, buy from and meet locals. We always leave with a ton of items. New things to try and definitely some old favorites are a must.
Q: Why you should shop local when on vacation?
A: A T-shirt may be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for a souvenir or gift, but why not shop at a few local stores and find an item with a story or meaning behind it? An example could be a necklace for your mom made by a local woman who puts a little bit of the Lowcountry in all of her pieces. Or maybe a gift for a friend from a local kitchen store. It might be a cheese board shaped like Hilton Head made from reclaimed wood from the island. Not only is this a story you can share with them, but it’s also one they can share when they wear or use these pieces themselves.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about locally owned businesses?
A: I like when the owners know you personally. Customer service is their second nature; they may even call you when something new comes into their shop and they think you might like it. You have a relationship with these people that you never would with a big box store. Our local business owners support our community year-round; from kids’ sports teams to local festivals and events. It’s a shared effort between local owners and consumers to keep our community and economy growing. I’ve never seen a rec soccer team sponsored by Amazon, have you?